Using Special Guests To Deepen Understanding in Bible Classes

Bible classes for children and teens usually follow a similar format regardless of the curriculum that is being used. When it is time for the Bible lesson to be taught, there is almost always one teacher who teaches the lesson. While that has its benefits, adding a guest or two to help teach the lesson can also increase student understanding and application of the biblical principles in the lesson.

In this case, we are not suggesting a full guest speaker – although that can be helpful at times, too. Special guests are invited for a very specific purpose and are incorporated into the lesson at appropriate points. For example, if I were teaching a lesson about Paul, Aquila and Priscilla with the goal of helping students understand the importance of vocational ministry, I might have a homemaker, a dentist and a store clerk as guests. They would know I would ask them to share about how they serve others and share their faith within the context of their average work day. At appropriate times during the lesson, I would stop and ask one of them to share for a couple of minutes.

To work well, special guests need to be chosen carefully. They need to be comfortable speaking to your age group – even if they aren’t a gifted public speaker. They should have the ability to teach the Bible accurately (The last thing you need is a guest speaker who confuses your students.) They should know your goals for what they are to share and be encouraged to practice what they are going to say, so they can stay within your time limit. Keep guest chats under five minutes until your students are comfortable with having a guest speaker jump in during a lesson. Before inviting your first guests, you may even want to share why you are bringing in guests and any expectations you have for your students when guests are there. Depending upon the guest, you may also want to include time for students to ask questions.

Feel free to vary the format. You may want to have a guest panel and ask questions of each person to get a wider variety of real life examples for students. Or you may want to bring in a special guest whom you interview at length during the lesson. Or at various important points in the lesson, you can ask the guest if he or she agrees with the point and if there is an example to share.

Obviously, some of these will require guests to have special skill sets or involve more preparation between you and your guests. Inviting guests can not only reinforce your lesson, but also give students a variety of real world examples in how to apply scripture to their lives. It can help them build important relationships with other members of your congregation and hopefully give them more opportunities to be mentored by older Christians. It takes a little more time to prepare, but it can add quite a bit of educational value to your Bible lessons.

Categories Bible, Elementary, Faith Based Academic Program, Mentoring, Preschool, Service, Special Needs, Teens
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